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Communications of the ACM

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Scientists Mine the Rich Seam of Body Wearable Motion Sensors


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A garment sewn with conductive yarn, with seams connected by wire to a microcontroller.

When positioned strategically, garment seams sewn with conductive yarn can be used to accurately track body motion, according to computer scientists at the U.K.'s University of Bath.

Credit: Olivia Ruston

Computer scientists at the University of Bath in the U.K. found that conductive seams in clothing, when accurately positioned, can be used to identify subtle movements by the wearer that are not picked up by fitness watches and wristbands.

The researchers found that the number of seams and their placement are important in designing smart garments.

They used a yarn with a conductive core made from a hybrid metal-polymer resistive material that stretches, can sense pressure, and may be activated at low voltages when added to a seam.

Bath's Olivia Ruston said, " “There are lots of potential applications for conductive yarn in any activity where you want to identify and improve the quality of a person’s movement. This could be very helpful in physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and sports performance.”

From University of Bath (U.K.)

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